The Ivy, one of Leeds’ latest restaurant opening which you don’t want to miss out on. It might be prettier than the food is tasty but together, it promises a lovely time. It’s only been open a couple of weeks but I’ve been twice already. Once for a three course evening meal* and a second time for a fuel filled weekend breakfast. I really enjoyed both my visits but if I had to choose, I’d say dinner is more worthwhile than breakfast.
The Ivy Interior
Located at Victoria Quarter in Leeds, you already know by the area that it’s going to be a fancy restaurant. The restaurant is set over two floors, two balconies and two bars. It’s a massive venue fully decorated from top to toe in the most eye popping colours, eclectic paintings, and 20’s style furnishing. Even the bathroom located on the top floor is beautifully decorated with a flowery wallpaper.
I loved The Ivy as soon as I set my foot here. It’s so different from any other restaurants I’ve seen in Leeds which makes a nice difference for a change. So many have gone down the industrial route which don’t get me wrong, I love, but when all the venues look the same it gets rather boring.
Dinner at The Ivy
Located opposite Leeds Kirkgate Market, I really do hope this is where The Ivy buy all their ingredients from. The menu offers lots of fish which the market has plenty of. I love fish, especially fresh so it wasn’t a surprise that I decided to have seafood both for my starter and main. Perhaps I should have mixed it up with a meat option but with these dishes being so different, I didn’t mind having fish for both. Before digging in to the three course meal, we sipped on cocktails and nibbled on Truffle Arancini – fried Arborio rice balls with truffle cheese. I say this every time but I love mini food balls and these are no exception. So scrumptious I could have had a whole bucket full.
My cocktail – Rhubarb & Raspberry Crumble (Slingsby rhubarb gin, Chambord, lemon juice & Fever-Tree ginger beer) could risk being a very sweet one but with both lemon juice and ginger beer it has a lovely, refreshing taste. I enjoyed that I could still taste the rhubarb flavour. A had the Ivy Royale (Kir Royale with Briottet rose liqueur, Plymouth sloe gin & hibiscus, topped with Champagne) which of course includes fancy bubbles. I like the extra touch that a couple of the cocktails have names after areas in Leeds – Roundhay and Kirkstall.
Back to the fishy starter and main. For both of us actually. A had Oak smoked salmon (Smoked salmon, black pepper and lemon with dark rye bread) to start with and the Market Special of the day which was a Fish Pie with five different types of fish. The Market Special isn’t well advertised on the menu but please do enquire about it and hopefully your waiter will mention it as well. It looked stunning and a clean plate at the end shows it was delicious too.
I started off with the Wasabi prawns with salt and pepper squid (Crunchy fried prawns, salt and pepper squid with wasabi mayonnaise and miso sauce) which is one of my favourites of the night. Perfectly battered prawns and squid and enough wasabi to give it a spicy kick. I love tuna steaks so much so I just had to try it here too. A plate full of Grilled tuna loin with a salad of artichoke, tomato, green beans, Provençal olives and basil sauce. I also ordered a side which was totally unnecessary. It might not sound much but the tuna fills you up in a healthy way. Not the best I’ve had but still tasty.
For dessert I always go for a fresh option over chocolate. I was extra pleased with my choice here as it exceeded my expectations. Blackberry ice cream sundae – the perfect palette cleanser. Vanilla ice cream with meringue, roasted hazelnuts, blackberry mousse, shortbread and a warm blackberry sauce. I love that the blackberry sauce was served on the side so that you can decide for yourself how much you would like and also make sure there’s some left when you get to the bottom of the bowl. A’s choice of dessert won for presentation though. Chocolate bombe – melting chocolate bombe with a vanilla ice cream and honeycomb centre with hot salted caramel sauce. The hot sauce is pored onto the chocolate bombe as it’s being served and melts right in front of you on the plate. I was informed it tastes as good as it looks.
Breakfast at The Ivy
If you’re planning a day in town shopping, it’s a good idea to start the day at The Ivy. Shopping is tiring and calorie burning so it’s important to start off the day well. I recommend ordering more than one dish in order to stay full for longer, the portions aren’t big. Between the two of us, we shared a plate of Eggs Benedict, gluten free toast with crushed avocado, caramalised grapefruit (I know!) and a stack of pancakes. I wouldn’t be able to survive on the toast, nor Eggs Benedict for long but adding half a plate of pancakes and half a grapefruit and I was full for a long time. I usually opt for salmon (Eggs Royal) over ham but it was nice trying something new. There’s nothing wrong with ham but with salmon, this kind of dish tastes a bit more.
Out of these four dishes, I can really recommend the pancakes. Soft and airy, perfectly proportioned with Greek yoghurt, fresh berries and strawberry sauce. I sometimes find grapefruit bitter but when caramalised, its sweetness comes through and honestly, almost tastes like a different fruit entirely. The same with iced tea, for me it can sometimes taste dry and bitter but this peach & elderflower iced tea is delicious. It’s the perfect palette cleanser to accompany the breakfast.
Have you been to The Ivy yet? What do you think to their decor and do you like the sound of their food offering? Check out their full menu here and let me know what you think if you try them out.
*I was invited for a complimentary three course meal together with a plus one in return for this post. I paid for all my food at the second visit. All words, views and photos are as always my own.